Gounod had a particularly strong influence on French composers from the middle of the 19th century. He was educated at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the Prix de Rome in 1837. His return to Paris in 1843, after developing a wide knowledge of earlier and contemporary music abroad, brought a position as an organist. He achieved considerable success in the theatre, particularly with the opera Faust in 1859, but the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and a period spent in England brought a largely unprofitable interruption. His influence on English vocal music, however, was perceptible and not always for the best.